Russell Cook

English Literature - BA (Hons)

Russell was 57 years old when he decided to study English at BCU. It wasn’t until he suddenly lost his wife to a heart attack that forced him to re-evaluate his life and career choice. He quit his job as an IT Project Manager and decided to pursue his lifelong interest in literature.

I was made to feel very welcome straight away from when I first came to BCU for an Open Day. It was the great interest that the staff took in me during the visit which made up my mind to choose BCU. I was accepted and I’ve now completed my second year. I’ve enjoyed the course and the experience enormously so far and I'm convinced I made the right choice.

As a (very) mature student, I was uneasy about attending a course with other students when I was almost 40 years older than the majority of them. I was also nervous about returning to full time education after so long, but I need not have worried. I have been fully accepted by the other students on my course, and greatly helped by the excellent teaching staff.

The course is very well structured and the assignment tasks are clearly defined and provide a great challenge for me. The sessions I have attended on developing written style and structuring arguments for my essays have been hugely beneficial. I have fitted in well into classes and have developed the confidence to contribute ideas and opinions in seminars.

I have gained confidence in my ability to deliver my assignments to a good level. It has dawned on me slowly that if I keep working hard I may possibly be able to aim for a first when I finish - so this is my underlying goal. The teaching staff have been brilliant and hugely encouraging over my first two years to give me this platform to aim for a good grade.

After my first year, I received the Head of School Prize for the highest achieving first year student, which was a real thrill. The concepts I have been introduced to during the course so far have hugely broadened my mind and outlook on the world. I now wish I'd been introduced to these concepts and ideas in my twenties - but I'm grateful I've been exposed to them, even if it was somewhat later in life.